I used to think that if I exposed myself to the world, then I would open up a great chasm for criticism to funnel down.
I believed that there was only so much of allowing my true self to be seen that I could handle and to reveal who I really was would make me weak.
What I have discovered under these brambles of my mind is that there is actually something very solid about being real and standing strong in my vulnerability. There’s something beautiful about being truthful, expressing it, living it and breathing it.
I become palpable when I am honest. You can come up close to me, touch me, feel my skin and taste my perfume.
Our idea of what it means to be vulnerable becomes a creation in our head; a manifested state of fear where we believe there is such a thing as being more or less vulnerable. Really, we are always just here—oscillating in and out of vulnerability.
We think we can protect our humanness if we ignore what it is we are—vulnerability and all. But, this way often fails. To disguise our self from the world is to disguise ourselves from the chance to sing out our unique tune.
To be sincere takes courage, but the opposite takes intense will and fortitude too. It would be a weary thing to look back when we are old, sitting on a swing on the porch of a creaking house and say, “I was so damn cool, but the thing was, I never actually let myself be.”
What is hiding underneath vulnerability? Actually, it is great strength. To expose who we are is one of the quickest ways to discover this.
If vulnerability and strength are partners, then purpose lies right next to them. We can scoop up our life’s meaning in the shadow of our fear of being seen as the true essence of our being.
Our head will shout insults at us, when we first choose to be ourselves. Ignore these voices. They are simply threads of stories we weave to keep us safe.
When I am vulnerable my stomach turns, my face scrunches up and sometimes I feel like I lose my feet. But, this is only temporary. I find my grounding again when I discover the universe, god, goddess or some judge in the sky has not hit me over the head with a mallet, disciplining me for being real.
I uncover that my voice is allowed here. I face what I thought would break me and I survive.
Presto; I am empowered.
Here are two practices to help remain courageous when we feel the rawness in being our unique, newly-exposed selves:
1. Finding our Roots.
Stand or sit, feel your feet on the ground. Close your eyes and imagine that out of the bottom of your feet are roots. These roots reach down deep into the core of the earth.
Notice your breath. On the out breath imagine the fear of being seen flowing out of you, down through your roots, into the earth where it can be transformed. Try this for three exhalations and then switch to focusing on the inhalation. Imagine your old beliefs have been made into fresh, golden nourishment by the earth. As you breathe in, this energy rises up into your body through your roots and fills you with warmth. Try repeating this three times.
These roots act as your anchor. You are a person of light, nourished and supported by the earth on which you stand. It is ok to show up, entirely.
Your roots will remind you of this and keep you safely here.
2. Claiming our Name.
Imagine the fear of being vulnerable is actually the small child in you.
What would this fearful child look like?
As the adult that you are, take the hand of this child. Close your eyes. Imagine turning towards a thing in nature that you love the most, a forest, a sunset, an ocean breeze. While holding the hand of your scared child, shout into this piece of nature: “I am…(and say your name).” Imagine repeating this three times.
Let your favorite thing in the natural world hear your voice and name. Nature will lovingly accept and reflect you back.
We have been taught that it is not ok to be what we are. We are shown how to be nice girls and smart boys and we lose track of how to share our authentic selves. Lying underneath what we think is vulnerability is truth. To be in our full power we need to expose this. The earth desires people who are living their true juice. We also desire people who we can touch, taste and feel.
Author: Sarah Norrad
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: Oscar Keys/Unsplash